Helping you grow your business
Helping you keep more of your income
We understand your needs
Adrian Mooy & Co
How can we help you?
Contractors - Best Salary & Dividends
Making Tax Digital for VAT
Let Property Campaign
Tax Efficient Profit Extraction
Off-payroll - public sector
If you are starting your own business, running it as a sole trader is the quickest and easiest way to do it. However, you will have unlimited liability which means you are personally responsible for business debts.
Another important aspect is that you are taxed on all the profits with little opportunity for tax planning. This is why most businesses will incorporate as profits increase.
We can support you through business registration and provide advice on all aspects of tax including:
◦ Accounts for HMRC ◦ Self assessment ◦ VAT returns ◦
◦ Payroll services ◦ Tax planning ◦
Partnerships are similar to sole trades, except that they are used when more than one person owns the business.
Each profit share is determined by the partners and best practice is to record this in a partnership agreement.
With partnerships each partner has joint and several liability for the debts of the partnership, so that if one partner cannot pay their share of any business debts, the debt will fall on the other partners.
Setting up a partnership agreement from the outset is essential.
Corporate tax planning can result in significant improvements in your bottom line. Our services will help to minimise your corporate tax exposure.
We are a member firm of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
Self assessment tax returns are becoming increasingly complex and failing to submit your return on time, or correctly, can result in substantial penalties.
We use the latest tax software to ensure that tax returns are completed efficiently, accurately and on-time.
Self assessment: Taking
away the hassles of tax
We provide a comprehensive personal tax compliance service for individuals that includes:
Invoicing your contracting work through a limited company is tax efficient. We will advise you on how to structure your contract to minimise IR35 risk. We will ensure you claim all the expenses that you are entitled to and work out if you can save money by joining the VAT Flat Rate Scheme. We will complete your accounts and tax returns and provide you with clarity over your tax payments.
Included in the service • IRIS KashFlow + Snap • Annual accounts • Corporate tax return • Personal tax return • Payroll • Dividend administration • VAT returns • Contract reviews • Dealing with HMRC
VAT • is one of the most complex tax regimes imposed on business. We provide a cost effective service including assistance with registration & completing your returns.
Payroll • Administering your payroll can be time consuming. We provide a comprehensive payroll service.
Your Payroll Solution
Construction Industry Scheme • CIS returns & payments
Book-keeping • Maintenance of accounting records
Provision of management accounts
For more about these services please contact us.
Keeping the Books
If your business does not require a statutory audit then our Assurance Service will provide reassurance that your accounts stand up to close scrutiny from your bank or other finance providers.
Work is tailored to your specific requirements and the level of confidence that you are looking to achieve and will provide credibility to your accounts by the issuing of an assurance review report.
Adrian Mooy & Co is a registered auditor with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
We strive to provide an auditing service that adds more value than merely the statutory compliance requirement of an audit.
We tailor the audit to meet your circumstances and needs. Using the latest techniques and software we deliver a cost-effective audit that provides real value.
Before starting out you may need help with business planning, cash flow and profit & loss forecasts.
You may also want help identifying the best structure for your business. From sole trades and partnerships to limited companies and limited liability partnerships, we have the experience to advise on the best solution for you both operationally and from a tax point of view.
We also advise on accounting software selection, profit improvement, profit extraction & tax saving.
If you wish to know more about our Business Start-up service please contact us on 01332 202660.
Accountancy and taxation of property is a specialist area. We have the expertise and experience to work effectively with private landlords and property investors. We deal with self-assessment tax, accounts preparation & tax advice for all aspects of property portfolios.
Whether you are a first time buy to let landlord or a long established developer we will discuss and understand your situation in order to advise and recommend the most appropriate medium through which to carry out your property investments. We will guide you through the accounting and tax issues and help you to plan effectively.
We take the time to explain your accounts to you so that you understand what is going on in your business.
Up to date, relevant and quickly produced management information for better control.
As part of our accounts service we prepare your annual accounts and complete yearly personal and business tax returns.
As your year-end approaches we will agree a timetable with you for completion of the accounts that minimises disruption to your business and leaves no late surprises when it comes to your tax liabilities.
We can also prepare management accounts to help you run your business and make effective business decisions. Management accounts are also very useful when approaching lending institutions when no year end accounts are available. We offer:
For a meeting to discuss your requirements please call us on 01332 202660.
We understand the issues facing owner-managed businesses.
We provide advice on personal tax & planning opportunities.
Running a small business places many demands on your time. We can help lift the load with our complete payroll service.
Designed to ease your administrative burden, our service removes what is often a time consuming task, leaving you free to concentrate on managing your business.
We can also prepare your benefits and expenses forms and advise you of any filing requirements and national insurance due. Benefits and expenses can be a complicated area and knowing what to report can be tricky.
We can file all your in-year and year end returns with HMRC and provide you with P60s to distribute to your employees at the year end.
We also offer a solution to meet your auto-enrolment obligations.
Businesses dealing with the requirements of VAT legislation will agree that this is often a complex area.
Our compliance services offer support for all stages of completing your VAT returns, whether you need advice on the treatment of specific transactions or have produced your records and would like verification that they are correct.
We can also advise on the pros and cons of voluntary registration, extracting maximum benefit from the rules on de-registration and the Flat rate VAT scheme.
Our consultancy service guides you through the intricacies of the legislation, pinpointing areas where you may be able to relieve or partly relieve the cost of VAT for your business, for example when purchasing new equipment or undertaking new projects such as property development.
For a free meeting to discuss VAT and obtain further advice please call us on 01332 202660.
We can conduct a full tax review of your business and determine the most efficient tax structure for you.
We give personal tax advice to a wide variety of individuals, including higher rate tax payers, company directors & sole traders.
We can assist with:
For a meeting to discuss your requirements please call us on 01332 202660.
Understand your needs
Firstly we listen and gain an understanding of your business and what you are aiming to achieve.
We seek your opinions on the service we provide and respond to feedback in order to upgrade and improve what we do.
Build a relationship
Success in business is based around relationships and trust. Our objective is to develop and build strong relationships with our clients, based on two way trust and respect.
Confirm your expectations
Our aim is to help you maximise your business potential and we tailor our service to meet your requirements and agree a timetable for delivering them.
Communication is important to the success of any commercial venture. It is therefore a vital part of our work with you, sharing the knowledge and ideas that help you to realise your ambitions.
Understand your needs
Confirm your expectations
Build a relationship
Straightforward and easy to deal with Adrian Mooy & Co provide an efficient, friendly and professional service - payroll, tax returns, annual accounts and VAT returns are always done on time. Eddie Morris
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Lettings relief – benefit from it while you can
Lettings relief is a potentially valuable relief that is available to those who let out a property which has at some point been their only or main residence. However, the opportunity to benefit from the relief in its current form may be time limited – the Chancellor announced at the time of the 2018 Budget that the relief is to be curtailed from April 2020. From that date, it will apply only where the owner of the property is in shared occupancy with the tenant. The Government are to consult on the details.
Nature of the relief
Under the rules as they currently apply, lettings relief is available where a gain arises on the disposal of a property which
• at some time has been the individual’s only or main residence;
• during the period of ownership, all or part of the property has been let as residential accommodation; and
• a chargeable gains arises as a result of the letting.
The amount of the relief is the lowest of the following three amounts:
1. the amount of private residence relief;
2. £40,000; and
3. the amount of the chargeable gain arising as a result of the letting.
Tom owned his flat for 5 years, realising a gain on sale of £200,000. He lived in it as his main residence for the first two years and let it out for the last three.
The first two years qualify for private residence relief, as does the last 18 months, which benefits from the final period exemption. Private residence relief is therefore £140,000 (3.5/5 x £200,000).
The remainder of the gain (£60,000) is attributable to the letting.
Lettings relief is the lower of:
1. £140,000 (the amount of private residence relief);
2. £40,000; and
3. £60,000 (the amount attributable to the letting).
Tom claims lettings relief of £40,000. As a result, only £20,000 of the gain is taxable (£140,000 being sheltered by private residence relief and £40,000 by lettings relief).
All that is known so far is that lettings relief is to be curtailed from 6 April 2020. From the same date, the final period exemption is to be halved to nine months; this will impact on the private residence relief available.
If a disposal of a property currently qualifying for lettings relief is on the cards, it may be beneficial to sell before 6 April 2020 rather than afterwards.
Paying mileage allowances tax-free
Employees are often required to make business journeys, either in their own or a company car. Most employers meet the cost of the fuel for business journeys, and it is possible to do this without triggering a tax liability.
Employees with a company car - Where an employee has a company car and meets the cost of fuel for private journeys, the employer can meet the cost tax-free as long as the payments made to the employee do not exceed the advisory fuel rates published by HMRC. These are updated quarterly.
Engine size Petrol . LPG
1400cc or less 12 pence per mile 8 pence per mile
1401 to 2000cc 15 pence per mile 10 pence per mile
Over 2000cc 22 pence per mile 15 pence per mile
Engine size Diesel
1600cc or less 10 pence per mile
1601cc to 2000cc 12 pence per mile
Over 2000cc 14 pence per mile
Although electricity is not regarded as a fuel for car fuel benefit purposes, an advisory electricity rate of 4 pence per mile was introduced from 1 September 2018.
If the employer pays more than the advisory rate the profits element is taxable and liable to Class 1 (employer and employee National Insurance contributions).
Example - In November 2018 Mark drives 260 business miles in his company car and claims a mileage allowance from his employer. Mark’s car is a petrol car with a 1600cc engine. As long as his employer does not pay more than 15 pence per mile, the payments are tax and NIC-free.
Employee’s own car - Where the employee uses their own car for business different, higher rates apply. These reflect the costs of insurance, servicing, depreciation, etc. which are borne by the employer when an employee has a company car.
Mileage payments are tax-free if the amount paid does not exceed the approved amount. This is simply the number of business miles for the year multiplied by appropriate approved mileage rate. The rates are shown in the table below.
Cars and vans 45p per mile for first 10,000 business miles in tax year
25p per miles for subsequent business mile
Motorbikes 24p per mile
Bicycles . 20p per mile
Example - Sarah drives 12,700 business miles in her own car in the tax year in question.
The approved amount is £5,175 ((10,000 miles @ 45p) + (2,700 miles @ 25p)).
As long the payments made to Sarah do not exceed £5,175, they are tax free.
For National Insurance purposes, the 45p rate for cars and vans is used for all business miles in the tax year, not just the first 10,000. In the above example, a mileage payment of up to £5,715 would be NIC-free (although anything over £5,175 would be taxable).
If the amount paid exceeds the approved amount, the excess must be reported to HMRC on the employee’s P11D or payrolled. If the employer pays less than the approved amount (or does not pay), the employee can claim tax relief for approved amount less anything paid by the employer.
The employer can also pay a tax-free passenger payment of 5p per mile for each passenger also making a business journey. This may encourage car-sharing.
As long as the payments do not exceed HMRC’s rates, they can be paid tax-free.
Faster tax relief for capital expenditure
From January 2019, businesses considering investing more than £200,000 in plant and machinery may benefit from a change to the capital allowances rules, which should allow them to obtain tax relief at a much earlier time.
Broadly, business profits, after any adjustments for tax purposes (for example depreciation of fixed assets), are reduced by capital allowances to arrive at taxable profit. Since capital allowances are treated as a trading expense of a particular accounting period, they can potentially increase a loss, or turn a profit into a loss for tax purposes. This in turn, will have an impact on the amount of tax payable by a business - so where a business is considering expenditure on qualifying items, it may be beneficial to undertake some upfront planning.
The annual investment allowance (AIA) for capital allowances purposes is a 100% allowance for qualifying expenditure on machinery and plant. Put simply, this means that a business buying a piece of equipment that qualifies for the AIA can deduct 100% of the cost of that asset from the business’s profit before calculating how much tax is due on that profit.
VAT-registered businesses claim the AIA on the total cost of the asset less any VAT that can be reclaimed on that asset. Non-VAT-registered businesses can claim the AIA on the total cost of the asset.
The AIA was set at its current level of £200,000 from 1 January 2016, but it was announced in the 2018 Autumn Budget that, subject to enactment, the limit will be increased to £1,000,000 from January 2019. This measure is designed to stimulate business investment in the economy by providing an increased incentive for businesses to invest in plant or machinery. However, the increase will only be available for a limited time. Under current proposals, the AIA limit will revert to its current level from 1 January 2021. Businesses considering making significant investments in, say, the next five years, may wish to consider bringing their purchase forward, so as to benefit from the increased AIA limit and obtain immediate tax relief on their investment.
Where a business spends more than the annual AIA limit, any additional qualifying expenditure will still attract relief under the normal capital allowances regime, but this will result in relief being spread over several years, rather than in one go.
It is worth remembering that connected companies are only entitled to one AIA between them.
The legislation includes a series of transitional rules, which can be complex. It is worth seeking guidance where expenditure on qualifying AIA items is being considered and the business has a chargeable period that spans either of:
a. the operative date of the increase to £1,000,000 on 1 January 2019, or
b. the operative date of the reversion to £200,000 on 1 January 2021.
Subject to enactment, the temporary increase of the AIA should provide a welcome tax break. It will help boost the cash-flow of SME businesses seeking to invest in qualifying plant and machinery, by reducing liability to income (or corporation) tax directly in proportion to capital investment for the financial year in which the expenditure was made.
Making Tax Digital for VAT – what records must be kept digitally
Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT starts from 1 April 2019. VAT-registered businesses whose turnover is above the VAT registration threshold of £85,000 will be required to comply with MTD for VAT from the start of their first VAT accounting period to begin on or after 1 April 2019.
Digital record-keeping obligations
Under MTD for VAT, businesses will be required to keep digital records and to file their VAT returns using functional compatible software. The following records must be kept digitally.
Designatory data - Business name - Address of the principal place of business - VAT registration number - A record of any VAT schemes used (such as the flat rate scheme)
Supplies made - for each supply made: - Date of supply - Value of the supply - Rate of VAT charged
Outputs value for the VAT period split between standard rate, reduced rate, zero rate and outside the scope supplies must also be recorded.
Multiple supplies made at the same time do not need to be recorded separately – record the total value of supplies on each invoice that has the same time of supply and rate of VAT charged.
Supplies received - for each supply received: - The date of supply - The value of the supply, including any VAT that cannot be reclaimed - The amount of input VAT to be reclaimed.
If there is more than one supply on the invoice, it is sufficient just to record the invoice totals.
Digital VAT account
The VAT account links the business records and the VAT return. The VAT account must be maintained digitally, and the following information should be recorded digitally:
In addition, to show the link between the input tax recorded in the business' records and that reclaimed on the VAT return, the following must be recorded digitally:
The information held in the Digital VAT account is used to complete the VAT return using `functional compatible software’. This is software, or a set of compatible software programmes, capable of:
Functional compatible software is used to maintain the mandatory digital records, calculate the return and submit it to HMRC via an API.
Getting ready - The clock is ticking and MTD for VAT is now less than a year away.
Entrepreneurs’ relief – what do the Budget changes mean?
Ahead of the 2018 Budget there was some speculation that entrepreneurs’ relief may be scrapped. In the event, this did not happen. However, the relief made an appearance with the announcement of changes to the personal company test, applying from Budget day, and of a doubling of the qualifying period throughout which the conditions must be met for two years from 6 April 2019.
Nature of the relief - Entrepreneurs’ relief reduces the rate of capital gains tax on disposals of qualifying assets to 10%. This is subject to a lifetime limit of £10 million. Spouses and civil partners have their own limit.
The relief is available where there is:
• a material disposal of business assets;
• a disposal associated with a material disposal; or
• a disposal of trust business assets.
Availability of entrepreneurs’ relief is contingent on the qualifying conditions being met. The qualifying conditions depend on the type of disposal.
The relief is complex, and a detailed discussion of the relief is beyond the scope of this article. However, guidance is available in HMRC’s Capital Gains Tax Manual at CG63950ff.
Shares in a personal company - Entrepreneurs’ relief is available for disposals of shares or securities in a personal company. To qualify, throughout the ‘qualifying period’ the company must be a personal company and either a trading company or the holding company of a trading group. The taxpayer must either be an officer or an employee of that company or of one or more members of the trading group.
The definition of a ‘personal company’ changed from 29 October 2018 (Budget day). Prior to that date, a personal company was one in which the individual held at least 5% of the ordinary share capital and that holding gave the holder at least 5% of the voting rights in the company.
From 29 October 2018 two further conditions must be met. The holding must also provide entitlement to at least 5% of the company’s distributable profits and 5% of the assets available for distribution to equity holders in a winding up.
Qualifying period - Entrepreneurs’ relief is only available if the conditions are met throughout the ‘qualifying period’. This is currently set at one year. However, it was announced in the Budget that the qualifying period will be doubled to two years from 6 April 2019 (except in relation to disposals where the business ceased prior to 29 October 2018).
Securing the relief - The timing of the disposal is important in securing the relief. If the disposal is one of shares in a personal company, and the new definition is not met, the qualifying period clock cannot start to run until the date when all conditions are met. To secure relief, the shares should not be disposed of until at least two years from the date on all of the conditions are first met.
Where the conditions have already been met for one year but will not have been met for two years by 6 April 2019, it may be preferable to dispose of the shares prior to 6 April 2019 to secure the relief. Alternatively, if the disposal is to take place after that date, it will make sense to wait until conditions have been met for two years in order to benefit from the relief.
Making good use of the £1000 property allowance
A new property allowance of £1,000 was introduced from 6 April 2017. The allowance means that individuals with income from property of less than £1,000 do not need to pay tax on that income. Further, they do not need to tell HMRC about it. The allowance is available in addition to the personal allowance.
Consequently, when filling in the 2017/18 self-assessment tax return, any income from property of less than £1,000 can be ignored – there is no need to complete the property pages.
If property income is more than £1000 the taxpayer has a choice as to how profits are worked out.
Option 1 - If and individual has income from property, the profits for the property business can be worked out by deducting the £1,000 allowance from the rental income, rather than deducting the actual expenses. This will be beneficial where actual expenses are less than £1,000. It can also reduce the need to keep a record of expenses.
Example - Tony lets out a flat for which he receives rental income of £600 per month. The flat is let throughout 2017/18 and Tony receives rental income for the year of £7,200.
His actual expenses for the year are £650.
Tony works out his profit for the year by deducting the £1,000 allowance from the rental income of £7,200 – leaving him with a taxable rental profit of £6,200.
This is a better result for Tony than deducting actual expenses as this would have resulted in a higher profit of £6,550.
Option 2 - Deducting the allowance will not always be the best option. If actual expenses are more than £1,000, deducting accrual expenses rather than the £1,000 allowance will result in a lower profits.
Example - Guy receives rental income of £500 a month from letting out a studio in 2017/18. His total rental income for the year is £6,000. His expenses for the year are £2,000. Deducting the actual expenses leaves a taxable profits of £4,000, whereas if he had instead claimed the allowance of £1,000, his taxable profit would have been £5,000.
Rent-a-room - It is not possible to claim both the £1000 property allowance and rent-a-room relief for the same income. Where rent-a-room relief is available, this will trump the property allowance.
However, if the individual also has another source of income which does not qualify for rent-a-room relief, the allowance can be claimed in respect of that.
Example - Mary lets out her spare room to a lodger as furnished accommodation, receiving rental income of £3,600 in 2017/18.
She also lives near a concert venue and rents out her drive for parking, receiving income of £810 in 2017/18.
She claims rent-a-room relief in respect of the let of her spare room and the property allowance in respect of the income received from letting out her drive.
Losses - Where a property business makes a loss, the loss can be carried forward and set against future profits from the same property business. If rental income is less than £1,000 but expenses exceed income (so that there is a loss), aside from the admin involved, it is better to claim the loss rather than take advantage of the allowance, as this may save tax in the future. However, if the amounts involved are very small, it may not be worth the hassle.
Employment allowance – upcoming changes
The employment allowance (EA) was introduced from April 2014, potentially cutting every employer’s NIC payments by allowing businesses and charities to offset up to a pre-set annual threshold (£3,000 from April 2016, previously £2,000) against their employer PAYE NIC liabilities.
Employers may generally claim the EA if they are a business (including a Community Amateur Sports Club) that pays employer Class 1 NICs on employees’ or directors’ earnings and is not funded by central government or a charity.
To keep the process as simple as possible for employers, the EA is delivered through standard payroll software and HMRC’s real time information (RTI) system. However, it isn’t given automatically and must be claimed.
How to claim - Claiming is very straight forward – the employer simply signifies their intention to claim by completing the ‘yes/no’ indicator just once. Although, ideally, the claim should be made at the start of the tax year, it can be made at any time in the year.
The employer will then offset the allowance against each monthly Class 1 secondary NICs payment that is due to be made to HMRC until the allowance is fully claimed or the tax year ends.
For example, if employer Class 1 NICs are £1,200 each month, in April the employment allowance used will be £1,200, in May it will be £2,400, and in June £800, as the maximum is capped at £3,000. The following tax year, the allowance will be available as an offset against a Class 1 secondary NICs liability as it arises during the tax year.
The EA applies per employer, regardless of how many PAYE schemes that employer chooses to operate, so each employer can only claim for one allowance. It is up to the employer which PAYE scheme to claim it against.
Recent change - The EA was restricted from April 2016, so that a company no longer qualifies where all the payments of earnings it pays in a tax year, in relation to which it is the secondary contributor, are paid to or for the benefit of one employed earner only who is, at the time the payments are made, also a director of the company.
This sounds complicated, but the purpose of the change was to prevent perceived misuse of the allowance by personal service companies and help focus it on businesses creating employment. The government estimated that this change affected around 150,000 limited companies with a single director.
Future changes - The Autumn Budget 2018 announced details of a further restriction, expected to take effect in 2020/21, which aims to target the allowance on businesses that need it most.
From 6 April 2020, access to the EA will be limited to businesses and charities with an employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) bill below £100,000.
Currently some 1.1million employers claim the EA and the government estimates that around 93% of these will continue to be eligible once the restriction takes effect, with many paying no employer NICs at all.
It is worthwhile checking that the EA has been utilised where possible. If a claim is made too late in a tax year to set the whole allowance against the employers’ NIC liability, the employer may apply to HMRC for a refund.
Buy-to-let landlords – relief for interest
With rising property costs and low interest rates, many people took out a mortgage to invest in a buy-to-let property. As long as property prices continued to rise and the tenants paid their rent, investors could make money from the rising market while the rent from the tenant paid off the mortgage – all the investor needed was the deposit and to convince the bank to lend them the money.
Fast forward a few years and the buy-to-let star is not burning quite so bright. Second and subsequent properties now attract a 3% stamp duty supplement – making them more expensive to buy – and relief for mortgage interest and other costs is being seriously reduced.
Interest relief – the new rules
Prior to 6 April 2016, the rules were simple. In calculating the profits of his or her property business, the landlord simply deducted the associated mortgage interest and finance costs.
New rules apply from 6 April 2017, with changes being phased in gradually over a four-year period so as to move from a system under which relief is given fully by deduction to one where relief is given as a basic rate tax reduction. This changes both the rate and mechanism of relief. The changes do not apply to property companies – only unincorporated businesses.
What does this mean
Relief by deduction simply means deducting the amount of the interest, as for other expenses, in working out the profit or loss of the property business.
Where relief is given as a basic rate tax reduction, instead of deducting the interest in calculating profit, 20% of the interest is deducted from the tax calculated by reference to the profit (as determined without taking out interest for which relief is given as a tax reduction).
For 2017/18, a landlord can deduct in full 75% of his or her finance cost. The remainder is given as a basic rate tax reduction.
Freddie has a number of buy to let properties. In 2017/18, his rental income is £21,000, he pays mortgage interest of £5,000 and has other expenses of £3,000. He is a higher rate taxpayer.
Tax on his rental income is calculated as follows:
Rental income £21,000
Less: interest (75% of £5,000) (£3,750)
other expenses (£3,000)
Taxable profit £14,250
Tax @ 40% £5,700
Less: basic rate tax reduction
(20% (£5,000 x 25%)) (£250)
Tax payable £5,450
This compares to a tax bill of £5,200, which would have been payable had relief for the interest been given in full by deduction.
The pendulum swings gradually from relief by deduction to relief as a basic rate tax reduction. In 2018/19, relief for half of the interest and finance costs is by deduction and relief for the other half is as a basic rate tax deduction. In 2019/20, only 25% of the interest and finance costs are deductible, relief for the remaining 75% being given as a basic rate tax reduction. From 2020/21 onwards, relief is only available as a basic rate tax reduction.
Has the dividend allowance cut hit home?
The dividend allowance, which was originally introduced from 6 April 2016, was cut from £5,000 a year to £2,000 from 6 April 2018. Fortunately, the tax rates on dividend income, above the allowance, remain at 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers, 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers and 38.1% for additional rate taxpayers; and dividends received on shares held in an Individual Savings Account (ISA) continue to be tax free.
Many family-owned companies will allocate dividends towards the end of their financial year and/or the tax year, so for many people, it will be around March/April 2019 when the impact of the reduction hits home.
How much tax is paid on dividend income is determined by the amount of overall income an individual receives. This includes earnings, savings, dividend and non-dividend income. The dividend tax will primarily depend on which tax band the first £2,000 falls in.
For a basic rate tax payer – in 2018-19 this generally means someone with income less than £46,350 – the reduction in the dividend allowance from £5,000 to £2000 could lead to an increase in dividend tax of £225. Higher rate and additional rate tax payers may be worse off by £975 and £1,143 respectively.
It is worth noting that if dividend income falls between multiple tax bands, the figures specified above will be different.
Examples - Dividend income only - An individual who receives dividend income only of less than £2,000 in 2018/19 will have no tax to pay on their dividend income as it falls within the dividend nil rate band.
Basic rate taxpayer - An individual who has, say, dividend income of £10,000 and other taxable income of £8,000 in 2018/19, will pay tax as follows:
Total income £18,000
Less personal tax allowance (£11,850)
Taxable income £6,150
Dividend income taxable at nil rate (£2,000 x 0%) £0
Dividend income taxable at ordinary rate (£4,150 x 7.5%) £311.25
Total tax liability £311.25
Higher rate taxpayer - An individual who has, say, dividend income of £10,000 and non-dividend income of £40,000 in 2018/19 will pay tax as follows:
Total income £50,000
Less personal allowance (£11,850)
Taxable income £38,150
Non-dividend income at basic rate (£28,150 at 20%) £5,630
Dividend income taxable at dividend nil rate (£2,000 at 0%) £0
Dividend income at dividend ordinary rate (£4,350 at 7.5%) £365.25
Dividend income at dividend upper rate (£3,650 at 32.5%) £1,186.25
Total tax liability £7,181.50
In this example, personal allowances are deducted first against other income, leaving £28,150 of other income falling within the basic rate tax band (£34,500 for 2018/19). Dividend income falling within the basic rate tax band is £6,350 (£34,500 minus £28,150 used), with the remaining £3,650 falling above the basic rate limit. The dividend nil rate is allocated to the first £2,000 of dividend income, falling wholly within the basic rate limit, leaving £4,350 within the basic rate limit. The remaining £3,650 of dividend income is taxable at the dividend upper rate of 32.5%.
These examples show how complicated the allocation of various rate bands and tax rates can be, even in situations where a straight-forward dividend payment is made. Family business structures may be particularly vulnerable to the impact of the reduction in the dividend allowance, especially where multiple family members take dividends from the family company. A pre-dividend review may be beneficial, as family members could find themselves far worse off than first thought.
Take advantage of the Annual Investment Allowance
The annual investment allowance (AIA) allows businesses to obtain an immediate deduction against profits for capital expenditure up to the limit of the allowance.
Where a business prepares accounts using the more traditional accruals basis, they are not allowed to deduct capital expenditure in computing profits; instead relief for capital expenditure is given under the capital allowances system, whether in the form of the AIA, a first-year allowance or a writing down allowance.
Where a business prepares accounts using the cash basis, different rules apply to capital expenditure. Under the cash basis, capital expenditure can be deducted in computing profits unless the expenditure is of a type where such as deduction is prohibited, for example, as is the case for land and cars. Capital allowances are not in point (except for cars), and the annual investment allowance is not available.
What expenditure qualified for the AIA? - The AIA is available on most items of plant and machinery, the main exception being cars. The AIA is likewise not available on items owned for another reason before they were used in the business or on items given to the proprietor or the business.
The AIA can only be claimed for the period in which the item of plant or machinery was purchased. If the payment is due within four months, the date of purchase is when the contract is signed. Where payment is due more than four months later, the date is that of when the payment is due.
The claim is made in the company or self-assessment tax return, as appropriate.
How much is the AIA? - The allowance is set at £200,000 for 12-month periods. The allowance is reduced proportionately for accounting periods of less than 12 months (so, if the accounting period is nine months, the AIA limit for that period is £150,000 (9/12 x £200,000)).
If qualifying expenditure in the period is less than the AIA for that period, the AIA can be claimed for the full amount of the expenditure. However, if qualifying capital expenditure in the period is more than the AIA for that period, the AIA can only be claimed up to the amount of the allowance, with relief for the balance of the expenditure being given by means of writing down allowances.
Example 1 - Harry buys three vans costing £20,000 each in the year to 30 September 2018. The total expenditure of £60,000 is less than the AIA available for the period, so he is able to claim the AIA for the full amount of the expenditure.
Example 2 - George buys new machinery costing £300,000 in the year to 31 October 2018. The expenditure exceeds the available AIA for the period of £200,000. He is able to claim the AIA on the first £200,000 of the expenditure. Relief for the remaining £100,000 is given by way of writing down allowances.
How is relief given? - Relief is given as a deduction in computing profits for the period. Thus, claiming the AIA provides immediate 100% relief for capital expenditure.
What happens when the item is sold? - If the item is sold, the proceeds are added to the relevant pool. This may trigger a balancing charge.
Do we have to claim the AIA? - No – a claim is not mandatory. It will not always be beneficial to claim the AIA, for example if profits are insufficient or the item is likely to be sold after a short period triggering a balancing charge; it may be preferable to claim writing down allowances instead. The claim can be tailored to the business’ circumstances.
Getting ready for MTD for VAT
The start date for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT is fast approaching – from the start of your first VAT accounting period beginning on or after 1 April 2019, if you are a VAT registered business with VATable turnover over the VAT registration threshold of £85,000, you will need to comply with MTD for VAT. This will mean maintaining digital records and filing the VAT return using MTD-compatible software. Businesses within MTD for VAT will no longer be able to use HMRC’s VAT Online service to file their VAT return. However, you can still use an agent to file your return on your behalf.
Businesses whose VATable turnover is below the registration threshold do not have to join MTD, but can choose to do so if they wish. However, once they are within MTD for VAT, they must remain in it as long as they are VAT registered – there is no going back.
If you have yet to start preparing for MTD for VAT, it is now time to do so.
What does MTD for VAT mean for you?
Under MTD for VAT you will need to keep your business records digitally if you do not already do so. If you are already using software to keep your business records, you will need to check that your software supplier plans to introduce MTD-compatible software, and upgrade as necessary.
If you do not currently keep your VAT records digitally or your current software supplier does not plan to introduce MTD-compatible software, you will need to choose software that will enable you to fulfil your MTD for VAT obligations.
MTD-compatible software (also referred to as ‘functional compatible software’) is a software product or set of software products which meet the obligations imposed by MTD for VAT and enable records to be kept digitally and data to be exchanged digitally with HMRC via the MTD service. Where more than one product is being used, the data flows between the applications must be digital – data cannot be entered manually. However, businesses will be allowed to cut and paste data from one application to another until 31 March 2020, after which all links must be digital.
If you currently use spreadsheets to summarise VAT transactions, calculate VAT or to arrive at the information needed to complete the VAT, once MTD starts, you will be able to continue to do so. However, you will no longer be able to key the relevant figures into the appropriate boxes on the VAT return. Instead you will need to use MTD-compatible software to enable you to send your VAT returns to HMRC and to receive information back from VAT. Bridging software may be used to make spreadsheets MTD-compatible.
However, to comply with MTD for VAT, the data must be transferred digitally – it cannot be rekeyed into another software package. But there will be a transition period and businesses can cut and paste until 31 March 2020, after which all links between products must be digital.
HMRC use the term ‘bridging software’ to mean a digital tool which is able to take information from another application, such as spreadsheets or an in-house system, and allow the user to send the data to HMRC in the correct format.
HMRC produce a list of software companies that are working with them to produce MTD-compatible software. Details can be found on the Gov.uk website
Partner note: VAT Notice 700/22: Making Tax Digital for VAT.
Cost of using a company van
Under the government’s new timetable, any changes to tax rates, allowances and benefits are now generally announced in conjunction with the Autumn Budget each year. This approach is designed to allow employers time to make the necessary changes to payroll systems.
In relation to company vans, the 2018 Autumn Budget announced that, from 6 April 2019, the flat-rate van benefit charge will increase from £3,350 to £3,430, representing a small increase in real terms to a basic rate taxpayer of £16 a year. In addition, the flat-rate van fuel benefit charge will increase from £633 to £655 from 6 April 2019.
In principle, a tax charge will arise if a work’s van is made available, by reason of the employment, to an employee or to a member of their family or household. It must be made available without a transfer of ownership from the employer to the employee. From 2016/17 onwards, the charge applies regardless of the employee’s earnings rate. If the van is only available for part of a tax year, the chargeable benefit will be reduced proportionately.
It may be worth noting that where a van is shared between two or more employees, the taxable benefit is calculated as normal and a reduction is then given for any periods during which the van is unavailable. To recognise that the benefit of the van is shared between more than one employee, a further reduction is then made ‘on a just and reasonable basis’. Discretion as to what constitutes a 'just and reasonable' proportion is generally left to the employer to evaluate, although HMRC may intervene if they suspect any deliberate manipulation of the rules.
Taxable van benefit will be reduced by any payments made by the employee for private use.
Zero-emissions vans - Changes were made to the taxable benefit charge provisions from 2015/16 onwards to phase out the former £nil van benefit charge for zero-emissions vans. For 2015/16 a rate of 20% of the van benefit charge for vans which emit CO2 applied to zero-emissions vans. The reduction is currently being phased out over several tax years until the van benefit charge for zero-emissions is equal to that for conventionally fuelled vans. The reductions are currently set as follows:
2018/19 – charge is 40% of van benefit
2019/20 – charge is 60% of van benefit
2020/21 – charge is 80% of van benefit
2021/22 – charge is 90% of van benefit
From 2022/23, the van benefit charge for zero-emissions vans is 100% of the van benefit charge for conventionally fuelled vans.
Electric-charging points - The Autumn Budget 2018 announced that the period for which 100% first-year allowances (FYAs) are available to businesses for expenditure on plant or machinery for electric vehicle charging points, is to be extended. 100% FYAs will be available for expenditure incurred up to and including 31 March 2023 for corporation tax purposes and 5 April 2023 for income tax purposes. The relief is subject to certain conditions, in particular, the expenditure must be on plant that is ‘unused and not second-hand’.
Conclusion - The benefit-in-kind charge arising on the private use of a work’s van remains relatively low in comparison to a company car. Given the current reductions in the benefit charge for zero emissions vans, and the immediate relief for capital allowances on charging facilities, businesses thinking of purchasing or changing their van/vans, may wish to consider opting for electric, or other zero-emissions, vehicles.
Dividend income – How is it taxed in 2018/19?
The taxation of dividend income was reformed from 6 April 2016. Since that date, dividends are paid gross – there is no longer any associated tax credit – and all taxpayers receive a dividend allowance. Dividends not sheltered by the dividend allowance, or any available personal allowance, are taxed at the appropriate dividend rate of tax.
The ‘dividend allowance’ is available to all taxpayers, regardless of the rate at which they pay tax and unlike the savings allowance the amount of the dividend allowance is the same regardless of the tax bracket into which the recipient falls. Where the allowance is not otherwise utilised, it allows for tax-efficient extraction of profits from a family company.
Although termed an ‘allowance’ the dividend is really a zero-rate band, with dividends covered by the allowance being taxed at a rate of 0% (the ‘dividend nil rate’). Significantly, dividends covered by the allowance form part of band earnings.
The dividend allowance is set at £2,000 for 2018/19; a reduction of £3,000 from the £5,000 dividend allowance that applied for the two previous tax years. Assuming dividends of at least £5,000 are paid in 2017/18 and 2018/19, the reduction in the dividend tax allowance will increase the tax payable by £225 for basic rate taxpayers, by £975 for higher rate taxpayers and by £1,143 for additional rate taxpayers.
Top slice of income
Dividend income is treated as the top slice of income. This determines which band it falls in, and the rate at which it is taxed.
Dividend tax rates
Dividend income has its own tax rates. Dividend income is taxed at 7.5% (the ‘dividend ordinary rate’) to the extent that it falls in the basic rate band, at 32.5% (the ‘dividend higher rate’) to the extent that it falls in the higher rate band, and at 38.1% (the ‘dividend additional rate’) to the extent that it falls in the additional rate band.
For 2018/19, the basic rate band covers the first £34,500 of taxable income. The additional rate band applies to taxable income in excess of £150,000. The bands are UK wide in their application to dividend income - the Scottish income tax bands apply only to non-savings, non-dividend income.
If the personal allowance has not been fully used elsewhere, bearing in mind dividend income has the last call, any unused portion of the allowance can be set against dividend income. The personal allowance is £11,850 for 2018/19, although it is reduced by £1 for every £2 by which income exceeds £100,000.
In 2018/19, Frances receives a salary of £25,000 and dividends of £30,000. Her personal allowance of £11,850 and the first £13,150 of her basic rate band is used by her salary, on which she pays tax of £2,630.
The first £2,000 of her dividends is covered by the dividend allowance and is tax-free. However, the allowance uses up £2,000 of her basic rate band, leaving £19,350 available (£34,500 - £13,150 - £2,000). The next £19,350 of dividends is taxed at the dividend ordinary rate of 7.5% and the remaining £8,650 (£30,000 - £2000 - £19,350) is taxed at the dividend higher rate of 32.5%.
The tax payable on her dividends is therefore £4,262.50 ((£2,000 @ 0%) + (£19,350 @ 7.5%) + (£8,650 @ 32.5%)).
Having an alphabet share structure in a family company allows dividends to be paid to family members to take advantage of their dividend allowance to extract profits tax-free.
Spare time earnings may be tax-free
The new trading tax allowance for individuals of £1,000 applies for the 2017/18 tax year onwards. In broad terms, the allowance means that individuals with trading income below the annual threshold may not need to report it to HMRC and may not need to pay tax on it.
This allowance may be particularly useful to individuals with casual or small part time earnings from self-employment, for example, people working in the ‘gig economy’ (Deliveroo workers etc.), or small-scale self-employment such as online selling (maybe via eBay). It means that:
Practical implications of the allowance include:
Example – Income less than £1,000 - Graham enjoys picture-framing in his spare time, and he occasionally frames prints for family and friends for a small fee. During the 2018/19 tax year he received income of £700 from this source, and his expenditure on framing equipment amounted to £300. As Graham’s trading income is less than £1,000, he does not need to report it to HMRC and he does not need to pay tax or national insurance contributions (NICs) on it.
Example – Income exceeding £1,000 - Mary enjoys baking and makes celebration cakes to order in her spare time. In 2018/19, her income from cake sales is £1,500 and she incurred expenses of £300. As Mary’s expenditure is less than £1,000, she will be better off if she claims the trading allowance. Her taxable profit will be £500 (£1,500 less the trading allowance of £1,000).
More than one source of trading income
Although the trading allowance may work well for many small-scale traders, care must be taken where a person’s main source of income is from self-employment and their secondary income is from a completely separate small-scale business. HMRC will combine income from all trading and casual activities when considering the trading allowance. In this type of situation, where the allowance is claimed, the individual will not be able to claim for any expenditure, regardless of how many businesses they have and how much their total business expenses are.
Example – More than one income source - Mark is a self-employed car mechanic and has income of £30,000 in 2018/19. His business expenditure for the year is £10,000. In his spare time, Mark buys and sells old collectable car magazines via the internet. During 2018/19 he received net income of £1,000 from this source. If Mark claims the trading allowance against his part time income, he will be unable to claim expenses of £10,000 against his car mechanic income, and his taxable profit for the year will be £30,000. If he doesn’t claim the trading allowance, his taxable profit for the year will be just £21,000.
Employment allowance – have you claimed it?
The employment allowance is a National Insurance allowance which is available to qualifying employers. The allowance reduces employers’ (secondary) Class 1 National Insurance by up to the £3,000.
The allowance is set at £3,000 or, if lower, the employers’ secondary Class 1 bill for the tax year.
Who can claim?
Most employers, whether a company or an unincorporated business, are able to claim the employment allowance if they are paying employers’ Class 1 National Insurance contributions. However, if there is more than one PAYE scheme, a claim can only be made for one of them.
Who can’t claim?
The main exclusion is for companies, such as personal companies, where the sole employee is also a director. However, the allowance can be preserved if the sole employee is not also a director, or if the business has more than one employee.
Remember to claim
The employment allowance is not given automatically and must be claimed. This is done via the payroll software through RTI. Although, ideally, the claim should be made at the start of the tax year, it can be made at any time in the year.
Using the allowance
The allowance is set against the employers’ Class 1 National Insurance liability for the tax year until it is used up, reducing the amount that the employer needs to pay over to HMRC.
If the employers’ NIC bill for the year is less than £3,000, the unused amount cannot be carried forward or set against other liabilities. The allowance is capped at the employers’ Class 1 NIC bill for the year. It cannot be set against Class 1A or Class 1B liabilities, or against employees’ NIC.
Private residence relief and the final period exemption
Private residence relief (also called main residence relief) is well known. It prevents a liability from capital gains tax arising on any gain on the disposal of a property which has been the taxpayer’s only or main residence throughout the period of ownership.
Where a property has not been the only or main residence throughout, the amount of private residence relief is reduced. It is available both for the period during which the property was the taxpayer’s only or main residence and, currently, the final 18 months of ownership (the ‘final period exemption’). Where the property has been let, the chargeable gain may be further reduced by lettings relief (but note this is to be curtailed).
The final period exemption is a useful exemption. It shelters the gain in the final period of ownership as long as the property has at some point during the period of ownership been the taxpayer’s only or main residence. It prevents a gain from arising if, for example, the taxpayer moves into a new home before the sale of the former home has completed. It also reduces the chargeable gain in respect of a let property that at some time has been the only or main residence. It is also a useful planning tool where a taxpayer has more than one residence.
The final period exemption
The final period exemption currently applies to the last 18 months of ownership. This is increased to 36 months where the taxpayer moves into care or is disabled.
However, at the time of the 2018 Budget it was announced that the final period exemption would be halved from 6 April 2020. Where residence is disposed of on or after that date, only the last nine months of ownership qualifies for the final period exemption. However, it is to remain at 36 months when the taxpayer moves into care or is disabled. The government are to consult on the change.
As the change does not come into effect until 6 April 2020, there is time to plan ahead. If a disposal is on the cards and the property has been the only or main residence at some point, but not throughout, the period of ownership, disposing of the property before that date shelters the last 18 months of ownership. Assuming that the legislation follows the same format as for the reduction in the final period exemption from 36 months to 18 months with effect from 6 April 2014, the critical date will be the date on which contracts are exchanged, which must be before 6 April 2020.
Jack purchased a house on 1 November 2014. Until 31 October 2018 he lived in it as his main residence. On 1 November 2018 he completed on the purchase of a flat, which he lived in during the week. As he was planning to sell the house, he elected for the flat to be his only or main residence from 1 November 2018.
If contracts on the sale of the house are exchanged before 6 April 2020, the last 18 months will be exempt, so the whole gain will qualify for PRR. However, if exchange occurs after 6 April 2020, only the final nine months will qualify for relief bringing some of the gain into charge.
Tax efficient remuneration using pension contributions
In the lead-up to the 2018 Autumn Budget there was plenty of speculation that the Chancellor would take the opportunity to cut tax relief on pension contributions, which currently costs the Government around £38 billion a year. In the event, this was not to be the case, and the generous tax relief provisions continue to apply in their current form for the foreseeable future.
Subject to certain conditions, tax relief is currently available on pension contributions at the highest rate of income tax paid, meaning that basic rate taxpayers get relief on contributions at 20%, higher rate taxpayers at 40%, and additional rate taxpayers at 45%. In Scotland, income tax is banded differently, and pension tax relief is applied in a slightly different way.
Pensions are a particularly tax-efficient form of savings since nearly everyone is entitled to receive relief on contributions up to an annual maximum regardless of whether they pay tax or not. The maximum amount on which a non-taxpayer can currently receive basic rate tax relief is £3,600. So an individual can pay in £2,880 a year, but £3,600 will be the amount actually invested by the pension provider.
The total amount of tax relief available on pension contributions is calculated with reference to ‘relevant UK earnings’. If you own a limited company and you take both salary and dividends, the dividends do not count as ‘relevant UK earnings’. This means that if you take a small salary and a large dividend from your company, your pension tax relief limit will be low - tax charges will apply if the limit is exceeded.
If you want to increase your tax-free contributions limit, you could consider either increasing the amount of salary you take from the company (to increase your relevant UK earnings), or making the pension contribution directly from your company as an employer contribution. Making an employer contribution has additional advantages.
Qualifying employer contributions count as allowable business expenses, so the company could currently save up to 19% in corporation tax. In order to qualify for a deduction, the pension contributions should be ‘wholly and exclusively’ for the purposes of business. HMRC will check for evidence that this is the case, for example whether other employees are receiving comparable remuneration packages.
Another advantage of making a company contribution is that employer National Insurance Contributions will not be payable, saving the company up to 13.8% on the contribution amount.
This means that the company can potentially save up to 32.8% by paying money directly into your pension rather than paying money in the form of a salary. Depending on your circumstances, this may or may not be more beneficial to you than paying personal pension contributions.
Benefits for employees - An employer-provided pension can be a significant benefit. Employers can make contributions to occupational or personal pension plans without triggering a tax charge. This can significantly enhance an employee’s remuneration package and is a tax efficient way of rewarding employees. It is also worth noting that, subject to a couple of conditions, a relatively new tax exemption may cover the first £500 worth of pension advice paid for by an employer. The exemption covers advice not only for pensions, but also on the general financial and tax issues relating to pensions.
Conclusion - Of course we do not know at present whether there will be any changes further down the line affecting tax relief on pension contributions. It is therefore strongly recommended that anyone considering topping up their pension pot should think about doing it sooner rather than later.
No Minimum Period of Occupation Needed for Main Residence
Main residence relief (private residence relief) protects homeowners from any gains arising on their only or main home. However, there are conditions to be met for the relief to be available. One of the major ones is that the property is at some time during the period of ownership occupied as the owner’s only or main home. Where this is the case, the period of occupation as a main home is sheltered from capital gains tax, as is the final 18 months of ownership, regardless of whether the property is occupied as a main home for that final period.
Living in a property for a period of time is worthwhile to secure main residence relief, not least because doing so has the added benefit of sheltering any gain that arises in the last 18 months of ownership.
But, how long does the property have to be occupied as a main residence to trigger the protective effects of the relief?
Quality not quantity
A recent decision by the First-tier tax tribunal confirmed that there is no minimum period of residence that is needed to secure main residence relief – what matters is that there has been a period of residence as the only or main home.
The case in question concerned a taxpayer who ran a property development company and who purchased a property in which he intended to live in as a main home. The property was initially purchased through the company, but the taxpayer intended to obtain a mortgage to buy it from the company. He lived in the property for a period of two and a half months whilst trying to sort out his finances. As a result of the financial crash, he was only able to secure a buy-to-let mortgage, the terms of which precluded him living in the property. The property was let to a friend, but the taxpayer moved in briefly following the friend’s death and undertook some decorating with a view to moving back in with his family. Due to health problems, this did not happen and the property was sold, realising a gain.
The Tribunal found that the taxpayer had lived in the property as a main home, albeit for a short period. It was the quality of occupation, not the quantity, that was important. Consequently, main residence relief was available.
Where a person owns a second home, living in it as a main residence, even if only for a short period, can be beneficial. This will protect not only the gain relating to the period of occupation from capital gains tax but also the last 18 months.
Partner note: TCGA 1992, s. 222; Stephen Bailey v HMRC TC06085.
The CGT annual exemption – use it or lose it!
Capital gains tax (CGT) is normally paid when an item is either sold or given away. It is usually paid on profits made by selling various types of assets including properties (but generally not a main residence), stocks and shares, paintings, and other works of art, but it may also be payable in certain circumstances when a gift is made.
Some assets are exempt from CGT, including assets held in an Individual Savings Account (ISA), betting, lottery, or pools winnings, cash held in sterling, jewellery, antiques, and other personal effects that are individually worth £6,000 or less.
The most common method for minimising a liability to capital gains tax is to ensure that the annual exemption is fully utilised wherever possible. Whilst this is relatively straight-forward where only capital gains are in question, the computation can be slightly more complex where capital losses are also involved.
Most people are entitled to an annual CGT exemption, which means that no CGT is payable on gains up to that amount each year. For 2018/19, the limit is £11,700 and it will rise to £12,000 in 2019/20.
Eligible individuals each have their own exemption, so for jointly owned assets, there is scope for spouses and civil partners to exempt £23,400 worth of gains in 2018/19, rising to £24,000 in 2019/20.
However, the annual exemption is good only for the current tax year – you can’t carry it forwards or backwards - so if it isn’t used in a particular tax year, it will be lost. If you are planning to make a series of disposals, for example disposing of a portfolio of shares, you may want to consider the timing of sales between two or more tax years to use up as much and as many annual exemptions as possible.
Moving gains - Although inter-spouse/civil partner transfers are not technically exempt from CGT, the mechanics of computation are such that no CGT charge arises on such transfers. This treatment requires the spouses/civil partners to be married and living together. It should also be noted that if the spouse or partner later sells the asset, they may have to pay CGT at that time.
Example - Grace, a higher rate taxpayer, disposes of 500 shares in ABC plc in 2018/19 making a capital gain of £30,000. After deducting the annual exemption (£11,700), her chargeable gain is £18,300. As Grace is a higher rate taxpayer, she will pay CGT at the 20% rate, and £3,660 will be payable on the gain.
If prior to sale, Grace transferred half of the shares to her spouse Bob, a basic rate taxpayer, the capital gains tax situation would be significantly different. Both Grace and Bob will be able to use their annual CGT exemptions. They will each have a chargeable gain of £3,300 (after the annual exemption). Since Bob is a basic rate taxpayer, subject to his taxable income and chargeable gain being below the basic rate band, he will pay CGT at 10%.
Capital gains tax on the sale of the shares would be charged as follows:
Grace: Chargeable gain of £3,300 at 20% = £660
Bob: Chargeable gain of £3,300 at 10% = £330
Total CGT payable £990
Transferring half the shares to Bob potentially saves tax of £2,670.
Whilst it is permissible to organise your financial affairs in such a way as to minimise tax payable, strict anti-avoidance rules do exist.
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